ETUC urges the German EU Presidency to respond to popular demand for social progress

Brussels, 17/01/2007

The ETUC highlights two major issues likely to occupy the EU in the first half of 2007: energy policy and internal market liberalisation; and a way forward for the EU Constitutional Treaty. The ETUC calls on the Presidency to break the constitutional deadlock, preferably by adding a social protocol to the existing treaty. It strongly opposes 'cherry-picking' aimed at producing a 'mini-treaty', or excluding the vital Charter of Fundamental Rights.

It urges the German Presidency not to neglect social progress in the EU, faced with the impact of globalisation. “Achieving this objective in a way that meets the approval of European citizens and workers implies respect for and development of the European Social Model,” says John Monks. “Popular concern about the direction the EU is taking - giving business interests priority over the welfare of working people - is reflected across Europe.

The latest EU enlargement, coinciding with the start of the German Presidency, underlines the urgent need to strengthen European cohesion.
The ETUC calls on the Presidency to push forward with some key legislative measures, including reform of the Working Time Directive to put an end to the individual 'opt-out', progress on the stalled Temporary Agency Workers Directive, and overdue revision of the European Works Council Directive.

Other issues high on the trade unions' list of demands are sustainable development and measures to combat climate change, and progress towards a European labour market guaranteeing equal treatment for mobile workers. The ETUC welcomes the European Commission's proposal to issue a Communication on the gender pay gap.
The ETUC reiterates its call for an EU framework to underpin high quality public services, accessible to all at reasonable cost.

In 2007 the EU celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the founding Treaties, and on this occasion the ETUC urges the Presidency to make a forward-looking declaration, recognising the role of the social partners in building the EU. John Monks will meet Ms Merkel together with the ETUC's German trade union affiliate.

- Trade Union Memorandum to the German Presidency